Another 9-12 ELA question: time period study

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by allaragallagher, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2014

    Hi all,

    More questions! I'll be teaching 9th, 11th, and 12th grade this year. I'm a first year teacher. Even though I have experience with 11th and 12th grade, I'm finding planning for these two grades harder than planning for my 9th graders. Probably because with both my 11th and 12th graders I have something I have to follow. For example, my 11th graders will be learning American lit. from Colonialism to Contemporary. To keep from going insane, I decided to use a thematic approach and focus on New England authors and culture. Yay, right? My 12th graders are studying Brit. lit from Anglo Saxons to Contemporary.

    Needless to say, even with the skeleton worked out I was getting a little overwhelmed. Then I thought of an idea that could kill two birds with one stone. I could have the students sign up for a time period and research it and make a poster to hang in the class. One side of the class will have the American lit. posters/timeline, and the other will have the Brit. lit projects. Free classroom decorations!

    But... I'm not sure how to get them started on a essentially semester long project where one group (or pair) will have such a shorter amount of time than the other groups. Should I have them sign up or randomly assign groups and time periods? To make it fair, I thought it might be our first project and all groups would do their research and create their posters the same week. Then, they will present before we start whatever time period they researched. That way the last pair doesn't have a full semester to do a project that's badass compared to the first groups thrown together one?

    Does anyone do this? Do you have a handout I could look at? Is it insane to essentially start with something like this?
     
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  3. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jul 31, 2014

    I'd do it as an initial assignment, have them all due at the same time, have them all present, and then display the posters as needed. Otherwise, you'll have grades spread out all through the semester. You want to get that project graded and in the gradebook asap.
     
  4. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2014

    Thank you. That's what I figured as well.
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 31, 2014

    I did something similar many, many years ago before I ditched most attempts at a chronological study of American lit. Here are my suggestions:

    1. Figure out how detailed you want this assignment to be. For on or below level kids, I would not give them more than a day or two of research, and I would specifically state what I wanted on each poster (name of the time period, dates, 5 important authors and 2 works credited to each, 3 US history events from that era for 11th grade, 1 world history event, etc).
    1a. How big will each group be? Everyone needs to be responsible for finding something. I try to keep my classes in pairs, but I have really small classes.
    2. Consider finding websites or sources of information in advance and giving it to your students. They are going to have difficulty finding and understanding what they're reading, especially if you want them to discuss important literary themes or characteristics of that era.
    2a. Are you going to build in time for a mini-lesson(s) on how to read those sources and review nonfiction text structures, selective high-lighting, summarization, etc.?
    3. Do you have multiple sections of 11th and 12th grade English? If so, that's a lot of posters to have hanging around the room. Would it make more sense for them to create a handout that you can copy and distribute to their classmates when you begin to study that time period?

    Just some things to consider! :)
     
  6. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2014

    Thank you. I appreciate the thorough response. I have waffled back and forth on whether or not I'm teaching my juniors American literature chronologically. With a focus on New England authors and culture, I could change this historical timeline project to a literary themes project. Assign nationalism, colonialism, romanticism, etc. I could provide the names of the authors we will be studying along with biographies. It would be easier for me to know what I'm looking for from them.

    1. Working on that now.
    1a. Pairs as well. I have small classes... supposedly.
    2. I am looking at having them use their textbooks as resources, but I will consider printing or providing other resources.
    2a. I hadn't got that far yet. I absolutely should. Perhaps structure the project like a paper. Today, find your sources. Today, summarize your sources onto notecards. Today, read this portion of the text or analyze this art/book/author from your historical period. Today...
    3. I have no idea yet. I have multiple sections of something. :) I figured the first year, yeah, I might have a lot of posters. That depends on my class schedule.

    I don't know if I can pull it off the first year.
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 31, 2014

    Well, here's the first thing you need to ask yourself: what specific standards are you covering with this project? If you can only think of one, then this should probably be a one-class period project. If you can think of 10, then you've got a full unit on your hands!

    Then ask yourself how you are going to directly teach those standards with this project. That's where your daily lessons will come from. Your assessment, at least in part, will be the poster and presentation of it. The bigger the project/unit, the more I assess along the way, informally and formally.
     

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